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Monthly Archives: March 2017

Tips to Maximize Your Profits

1. Get in motion by eliminating the procrastinator’s best friend: “Messy Desk/Office Syndrome.” If that is something you’re plagued with, you’ll find slaying the beast a lot easier if you take what I call the “The 3 D System” approach to organization which directs that you look at what is on your desk or what is cluttering your office and either Dump it, Deal with it or Delegate it.

2. Outsource everything that is not the best use of your time. Look at where you make your money, and if it’s not at bookkeeping, Web site maintenance, or writing marketing materials, for example, farm those tasks out to someone who can do them far more quickly and efficiently than you can.

3. Take things from your “to-do” list and block off actual times for working on specific items. For example, 10-10:30 AM might be for returning phone calls; 1-2:00 PM for working on an article; 2-3:00 PM could be for updating your marketing plan or for researching business networking events. You’ll be amazed at how much more you get done when you assign specific times for doing things.

4. Resist the temptation to answer the phone every time it rings as a new conversation will not only distract you from what you are doing, but it may lead you to abandon the task all together as you become drawn into resolving other matters. If you work alone, pretend you have a secretary and that you’ve told him or her to “hold all calls.” Then return the calls when you have both a clear mind and the time to tackle them.

5. Take charge of your e-mails; don’t let them take charge of you. Resist temptation and commit to checking your in-box only twice a day: first thing in the morning and around 3:00 PM.

6. Set specific, realistic goals with timelines and commit to taking at least two action steps every day.

7. Avoid becoming overwhelmed by chunking every task down into manageable bite-sized pieces. Not only will you get more done, you will feel terrific as you realize how much you have accomplished.

8. Tackle the things you hate doing first. Like a trip to the dentist, you’ll feel an awful lot better when that phone call you’ve been dreading and avoiding is finished.

9. Build accountability into everything that is difficult or important to you. It doesn’t matter if it is crafting your marketing message, writing press releases, or putting together your media kit, you will find you will get a lot more accomplished if you are accountable to someone for having completed your actions. If you are not currently working with a business coach, find a neutral party to help you stay on track.

10. Stop spinning your wheels and start making more money by having a clearly defined niche to which all your marketing efforts are directed. Make sure your target market is one that a) has a need for your services, b) is underserved, and c) can afford your fees. Be as specific as possible when determining your niche and create marketing materials that address its needs and that position you as the solution your target market has been looking for.

 

Tips to Protect Yourself when Dealing with Clients

1. Have a contract or client agreement.

You should have some form of contract or client agreement which states, at a minimum, your work hours, your hourly fee (if you charge by the hour), payment terms, a statement regarding confidentiality, your status as an independent contractor, an “out” clause (e.g., either party may terminate the agreement with 14 days notice) and any other data that you feel pertinent (such as an arbitration clause).

If you choose to have a contract or client agreement, it is in your best interest to insure that your client signs and returns it before any work is performed – remember to send your client a signed copy back.

2. Create Client Service Plans.

If you’re not sure how many hours a client will require each month, you may want to consider creating “Client Service Plans” which allows clients to know they have purchased a certain amount of your time for any given month.

For example, if you are a coach, you could charge $X/month for three 30-minute calls and email support. Or $Y/month for three 45-minute calls and email support.

If you are a virtual assistant, you could charge $X per hour for clients who commit to using 40 hours/month and $Y per hour for clients who commit to using 20 hours/month. Each set of hours/pricing would be a separate plan – Platinum, Gold and Silver, for example, where Platinum clients commit to the most hours and Silver clients the least.

Don’t be afraid to tailor your plans to your specific business and your clients. It’s important that they know you can be flexible while still maintaining your internal standards.

3. Require a deposit or get paid in advance.

It makes good business sense to require a deposit before you start work for new clients. The deposit doesn’t need to be prohibitive, but just enough to guarantee that you are paid at least something for your work if the client decides to try and stiff you.

Most coaches I know are paid in advance of the month. For example, clients pay at the end of November for December’s coaching. Many virtual assistants require a percentage deposit at the beginning of each month and credit it on the invoice.

The above strategies are not mutually exclusive. I use all three to a certain degree in my business along with a “Client Intake Form” that I’ve created. This allows me to learn something about the client before we’ve had our first session.

 

Grow Your Business With Great Employees

If you are like most business owners and managers, you have tried just about everything; from new technology and software, to modifying your marketing message and efforts, to hiring teamwork consultants, to reorganization.

There are three things all of these techniques have in common. One, they cost you a lot of money. Two, they eat up a good amount of your time. And three, they rarely (if ever) work. To grow your business, it is imperative to improve the productivity of your employees. That is the reason organizations spend their time, energy and revenues on the products and services that are written about in articles, advertised in the media and introduced at seminars.

However, the typical outcome is “business as usual.” Those employees who naturally performed before the costly modifications, still naturally perform. Those who failed to meet your sales, teamwork, motivation and productivity expectations, still fail and cost you time, energy and money.

Why You Need to Hire ONLY TOP Performers

Your TOP Performers produce month in and month out. So no matter how ineffective your technology, processes or managers may be, your best employees continually make you money without external support, motivation or incentive.

Studies have shown, the top performers in a position are five to eight times more productive (and profitable) than average employees. Organizations that have created recruiting and hiring standards, and more importantly follow them, have doubled or tripled their productivity, sales and revenues by doing nothing more than hiring more top performers.

At the same time, their industry counterparts have either failed to grow or gone out of business. Most of these organizations have spent a good amount of time, energy and revenues on reorganizing their marketing, sales, technology and leadership processes also.

Adding another top performing employee to your team is the only way to guarantee your success. Whether that means adding a new position to payroll or replacing a non-performer, it is an important decision that must be made if you want to grow your business.

How to Attract and Hire TOP Performers

Because it is not a matter of if, but when you come to the realization that your current staff is holding you back from your important goals, here are five ways to insure every future hire can, and will, become a top performer:

1. Don’t Expect Candidates to Find You

If you are only recruiting “passively” with classified ads, general web boards and employment agencies, you are only going to find “passive” job seekers. You need to do everything in your power (network, referrals, educational partnerships, etc.) to “actively” recruit motivated top performers.

2. Believe Only 50% of the Resume

Studies have shown 95% of resumes contain exaggerations. The best thing about a resume is it tells you if the candidate (or their professional resume writer) can use grammar properly, can last more than a few months at a job and has the basic education or training required.

3. Believe Only 50% of the Interview

Your reason for having the interview is to make sure the candidate will fit your culture, team and the job you are hiring them to do. Now think about it, their reason for accepting the interview is to be who they need to be and to say what they need to say to “sell you” on hiring them.

4. Don’t Always Rely on Your Instincts

Your “gut” has been proven wrong before and it will be proven wrong again. And this works both ways. You have surely passed on someone who made a bad first impression that later became a top performer for a competitor. You have also hired the energetic, friendly, punctual candidate that eventually became a drain on your time, energy and cost you a lot of money.

5. Use All of the Available Resources

According to studies, using a resume, interview, background and reference checks, employment agency recommendations and your instincts only provide you about a one in four chance of hiring a top performer. For over 15 years, most of the Fortune 500 and almost every Market Leader has kept their use of “Job Match” Assessments a secret from their competitors. The secret is now out that you can improve your Hiring Success Rate of top performers to about 75% with these tools.