Tag: Business CoPilot (page 1 of 4)

Writing a plan – what is the point?

Writing a plan – what is the point?

By the time you have written the plan everything has probably moved on and it is already out of date. Or the process of writing the plan has left you in no fit state to carry on the day job.

Executive coaching BristolOK, a plan will give you something to focus on, if you find yourself with time on your hands. It will also help you to work towards an objective or goal. But with so many areas to consider, so many scenarios to incorporate into the plan to make it worthwhile, one has to ask the question – is it all worth it?

My suggestion. Why not write down a completed actions list?

That is one way I have found of capturing activity to reflect if it is going in the right direction. I know in my own mind what i am heading towards, i did that heavy lifting months ago. All I want to see is how I am progressing towards that goal, not how much still lies ahead.

By writing down the work done and the time, I can then look back with a sense of pride about what has been achieved. I can also change direction much quicker if my goals have changed.

So what do you do – do you take the adage that failing to plan is planning to fail? Or do you record activity and let the future take care of itself?

Let me know.

Failing to plan is planning to fail

Yes, I know it is a bit clichéd. But we have sound evidence that most small firms do not plan well enough to ensure that they grow in a way that is sustainable and profitable.

Personally I have no problem with a one page business plan that resembles an action list rather than the deep, structured formal plan. It reflects where they are and  most probably the variability in the environment in which they are seeking to operate.

Anyhow, back to the evidence. We asked 35 people to complete a Gap Analysis of what they need to strengthen the most. The response was a need to have a plan and have goals and objectives to make the plan happen.

If you want to add your insights to the research, do feel free. Business strategy assessment.

Business CoPilot Announcements

Hi,   
We have some announcements to make!!

The Business CoPilot is broadening it’s offering.

We are adding strategic sales management to the business and executive coaching portfolio.
The simple reason being that  our clients tell us that sales and sales strategy is at the uppermost of peoples minds when growing the business. And we can help them through that journey.
Rob was recently awarded Fellow status of the Institute of Sales and Marketing Managers underpinning our credentials in sales strategy.
Our existing clients will see no change in the relationship and no change in the current arrangements. Just that the future Business CoPilot marketing material will be aimed more at bringing in new clients that are seeking support on their sales strategy.
More to follow…
Have a business issue to resolve?
If you’d like to come and meet us to talk through your sales strategy, or if you’d like more information, please call us on 0117 317 8147 or email robh@businesscopilot.co.uk.
Best wishes,
Rob and Nick

Go deep – find your intrinsic motivators

What you’re really meant to do

Strategic Sales Management Training CourseMotivation is a huge topic right now. In a business setting getting it right can pay huge dividends, getting it wrong can play havoc with the bottom line. A motivated team will go that extra mile, think bigger and more creatively, seek to make a difference. An unmotivated team will sap morale, watch the clock and save their best for elsewhere.

Something has to be done you say. And you are right. Most businesses focus on tackling the extrinsic aspects of motivation – those that can be manifested visibly. An obvious one is money. The more money you can get access to the higher the motivation and the greater the benefit. Status is another. Hitch up the job title another notch, the bigger desk, the cooler office location. The list goes on. Power, authority, bonuses. If we can tackle the tangible then the intangible will occur. Right?

Well maybe. But another way of looking at the issue is to seek to enhance engagement through the intrinsic motivators. These are the things that motivate us internally. For instance you may be passionate about your business’ culture , the unique way things get done. Or you might seek to engage and relate with work on an intellectual stimulation basis. You love the challenge of a difficult problem to grapple with and receive thanks for the efforts. Some might seek to forge strong bonds with others and create a team spirit that delivers.

The problem as you can see immediately is that extrinsic is easy to see and manage and can be effected corporately, whilst intrinsic focuses on what cannot be seen and is centred on the individual.

But it’s worth the effort. Break the mould of stereotypical views of success by measuring it through benchmarking, goals, objectives, all forms of visible milestones. Seek instead to motivate by digging deep and uncovering what really motivates us – our values. By doing so you release untapped potential.

How? Take the time to ask the team members what it is that they value and how they can make that happen at the workplace. I met a business owner who values where he works. He is hard working, diligent, creative and resourceful. But he likes to work in a variety of settings. Placing him in an office would stifle his energy and eventually lead to him either leaving or working sub-optimally. Another loved to walk and talk. The place and the pace were the key to him achieving his inner or intrinsic motivational platform.

Insanely simple and yet difficult to make happen. Which is why most organisations prefer extrinsic measures. Why not break through the outer hard shell and engage with the living person beneath. It might surprise you.

Let me know how you get on.

What youre really meant to doPS – the inspiration for this blog came from reading this book – “What you’re really meant to do.” by Robert S. Kaplan

 

The ONE Thing book review

I cannot recall how many times I have started my blog posts with something along the lines of “Being in business is hard” or “Being successful in business demands intense focus”. So I was intrigued when I come across a book that promises to help.

The One ThingIt is the One Thing by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan that has the expansive text on the front cover “The surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results”.

In essence I liked the book, it is easy to read and has some nuggets to take away. It uses a formula based on what they call the Focusing Question. Using solid theory such as the Pareto Principle or 80/20 Rule, they expound how to make the most of your time. Good stuff.

But I was left feeling a little underwhelmed. I reflected and concluded that it ultimately doesn’t work, not because there is anything wrong with the initial premise, the logical thought processes etc, but it doesn’t  work as it starts with an incorrect assumption. The assumption they make is that by knowing what I need to focus on as single mindedly as they make out, I can then JDI – just do it. If I was an automaton, then fine, but I am not. I am a fallible, inconsistent, unpredictable human being and this kind of artificially induced rigour doesn’t work as a game changing model of behaviour.

I did pick up some useful titbits and a few insights but to boil all the complexity of being a human in the complex environment we call business into ONE Thing just leaves me cold.

What do you think?

Social media in a B2B setting doesn’t work

Social media - is there any point?Let me clarify. B2B is business to business where one firm is looking to sell to another firm. B2C is business to consumer where the firm is seeking to engage with a consumer directly.

Social media is any on line promotional platform whereby firms seek to engage with other firms via platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn etc.

The goal in social media is to engage more with the personality than with products or services. It’s all about personal branding, ego and demonstrating who you are and not what you do or the benefit that you offer.

Social media in a B2B setting does not work

Why? Because businesses buy products or services. They are not interested in personality, personal branding or ego. They just want to buy a solution to a problem, to scratch their itch. They seek solutions by looking for the closest thing they can to a solution and then fine tune it when they have a few options. But they certainly wont be buying based on an on line personality.

Only the very smallest firms might buy through social media connections, and one could argue that is more a B2C transaction as they are in essence buying for themselves and not as an officer of the company.

4psSo my view is that if you want to sell to established businesses, focus more promoting what you do in terms that your audience understands. Make it clear what you are selling, the benefit the users get from using you and the process that you will use to make it happen.

Any thoughts?

 

A business succeeds only when customers buy

Business CoPilot top brandsNo matter what the size of the organisation, no matter what it makes, no matter what – it will only succeed if customers buy from them. It is that vital transaction that determines success or failure.

No one is immune. Coca Cola, Nokia, Kit Kat, Ford, Apple. As soon as sales drop then alarm bells ring.

OK, I do accept that products and services need to be developed and innovated, that the support services are in place to delight the customer and yes marketing needs to be done to build awareness. But without customers buying then anything that the company does is not worthwhile. Put another way without sales it all fails

The problem is that many senior business people do not understand what selling actually means. Smarmy hair cuts, sharp suits, gift of the gab, morals of an alley cat are stereotypical traits of how sales people are viewed.

What traits do you think should be exhibited by a top line sales person? Here are a few starters:

  • Persuasive – able to lead a discussion
  • Knowledgeable – understands the nuances of the market
  • Intelligent – can demonstrate business acumen and business learning
  • Social – able to mix at all levels and speak fluently

What are your traits? Do let me know

Start with Why

In Start With Why, Simon Sinek say that good business leaders start with ‘why’.

Start with Why

Most of us start with what we do. The service we offer, the products we promote.We spend time polishing it to make it shine brighter in the hope that in doing so it will attract more attention.  We seek external validation via testimonials, likes and so on.

We have to do that. Enhancing the offering is essential. But only after the question why has been answered.

Why why?

Because until we can find why, we are at risk of missing the point. For instance, if train companies understood why people travelled on their trains, they would have understood that there were rivals in the wings. Literally. Planes and cars would change the travel industry for ever. But the train companies saw their mission as selling seats on trains. Most people wanted to get to the their destination quickly.

Top tips

Here are a few questions to get you thinking:

  1. Why do people buy from me
  2. Why do people buy from my competitors
  3. Why don’t people buy more from me
  4. Why are they not willing to pay more for what we do

Have a go.

Ask yourself why do you do what you do and why do they do what they do. It might show a rich stream of innovative thought and release the creative pressure to inspire others.

Vision must be embedded in the day to day of doing business

“Here is our vision”. I looked at it and was impressed. Partly because they had gone to the trouble of actually thinking about it and then writing it down and because it was very strong. It had many of the components that a vision should have. It had direction, values, core competency, target audience and a clear definition of the services offered. it was aspirational and practical. Great stuff.

flightplan

But what I noticed when I talked to them was that the vision was not actually the guiding light it was intended to be. Whilst looking at new avenues for growth or to assess performance, they didn’t go back to the flight plan or the vision.

It seemed to me that they did the vision statement but then left it. Job done move on.

I am now working with companies to make sure they embed the vision in the business. To somehow insert the vision statement into the business metrics or the performance stats. Even when they do strategic interventions or look at new ideas I am looking at ways to ensure they consistently revisit the vision statement.

My one way is to make sure that the sales stats reflect the target audience in the vision statement. That way they have to go back and check to see if they are within the plan or to assess if the vision needs updating.

Where would you ensure that the vision was embedded in the day-to-day running of the business?

Let the Chimp out

How often do you find yourself in a situation where the other person in the conversation seems to be ranting, or on an emotional tsunami? Or have you been in a meeting where one or more of the delegates seem to be off message but still transmitting?

Well, there is an explanation and if you know what it is then you can deal with it

Chimp Paradox

It’s called the Chimp and is described in the book the Chimp Paradox by Dr. Steve Peters. He helped guide the British Cycling team to glory at the London Olympics.

In the book he describes the human brain as having 2 key parts. One is you, the real you. Logical, rational. The other is the emotional you. The one that feels rather than thinks, that sees in black and white and has catastrophic thoughts.

Does that sound familiar? If not for you it might explain the behaviour of some of the people you interact with. It is their Chimp that is transmitting, not the real them.

The secret is to let the Chimp have their say no matter how irrational, emotional or off message. Once the rant is over, it calms down and goes to sleep allowing the real person to appear. Sound too simplistic. Maybe, but it works.

Try it next time. Just let them get it off their chest. No interruptions, not engagement, don’t take it personally and remember that it is not the real person talking. Then when they have calmed down, then do the talking. It really works

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